The Genome of The Termites Sequenced

The genome of a termite species has recently been sequenced, specifically Zootermopsis Nevadensis. An international group of scientists has carried out this complex task, in order to learn more about this insect that causes great damage around the world (an estimated 40,000 million dollars a year). It is believed that with this advance in the knowledge of its biology, new methods of combating termite pests can be developed.

Although currently the system of termite baits is totally effective and respectful with the environment, there are still companies dedicated to the elimination of termites that use chemical products injected into the ground around the houses, some of which can be harmful to the rest of living beings.

With this new knowledge, we intend to find genetic weaknesses in termites that allow the development of new treatments for the elimination of their colonies. Not in vain, the current treatment against termites based on baits (SentriTech), also uses a complex system of elimination developed thanks to a deep knowledge of the biology of the termite. The poison is supplied exclusively to the termite colony, as these are the ones that transport it from the primers to the interior of the colony. The poisoning is not visible until the termites perform the moulting of their exoskeleton, at which time the treatment has an effect and the termite dies when it is unable to carry out the moulting.

Another benefit that could be obtained from the knowledge of the termite genome could be related to the production of biofuels from cellulose, by studying the enzymes that termites use to digest wood cellulose.

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